Can You Run a Swamp Cooler All Day?

If you live in an area where it gets hotter than hot during the summer months, then you’ve probably invested in a swamp cooler. They supply you with crisp, refreshing air without the outrageous electricity costs of an air conditioner. The only problem arises when you’re leaving your home and considering turning off the swamp cooler, but is this the right choice?

Can you run a swamp cooler all day? Yes, you can run a swamp cooler all day. The most important thing to remember is to refill the water. Since the swamp cooler runs on electricity and water, a lack of water can lead to failure of the swamp cooler. Make sure there is water before leaving the house if you plan to leave the swamp cooler on while away.

If you are wondering about leaving your swamp cooler on all day, you need to understand how it works. For the most part, it’s completely safe to leave your swamp cooler running. However, there are several things to remember when doing so. Read on to find out all the must-know tips when it comes to a smooth-operating swamp cooler that blows fresh air all day long.

Running Your Swamp Cooler All Day: The Facts

When it becomes excessively hot during the summer months, your biggest concern is to find an escape from the heat. For most people, that means hiding indoors until the afternoon when the temperatures drop, and they can take a dip in the pool. If you don’t have an air conditioner, then your best option is to use a swamp cooler.

Swamp coolers are uniquely designed to blow cool air throughout your home, and they work tremendously well. Not only do they cool your home, but they help to conserve energy and save money. However, there are a few things that you should consider when using your swamp cooler all day, such as:

  • Always make sure there is proper circulation.
  • Start the swamp cooler early in the day.
  • Always make sure there is enough water.

By employing these three simple tips, you should be able to safely and adequately cool down your home, even when the blistering sun seems as though it is showing no mercy.

But what exactly do these three tips mean? 

Always Make Sure There is Proper Circulation

This is an essential tip for swamp cooler owners whether you’re operating the swamp cooler for an hour or twenty-four hours. A swamp cooler won’t work unless there is proper circulation in the home. Simply setting up a swamp cooler in your windowsill and expecting a miracle to happen won’t work.

To ensure that your swamp cooler has adequate circulation, always make sure there is a window open in the direction in which the swamp cooler is facing. For instance, if your swamp cooler is placed on the windowsill of the living room, then you should find a window on the opposite side of the same room to allow for proper circulation.

Remember that your swamp cooler can provide cool air for an entire household, but if you are in a large home or a two-story villa, then you may consider having multiple swamp coolers running to cool down the home effectively. The main thing to remember is always leave other windows open, even though they are not the windows holding the swamp cooler.

Another way to help your swamp cooler cool down an area is to keep fans blowing at all times. Fans circulate air and can help your swamp cooler as it works to blow the cold air throughout your home, even during the highest temperatures.

Start the Swamp Cooler Early in the Day

Most people can get by with turning their swamp cooler off at night. However, this doesn’t mean you have to. If you are in an area, such as Phoenix, Arizona, where temperatures can still be in the 90s after midnight, then you have the option of leaving the swamp cooler on throughout the night, as well. 

However, if you turn your swamp cooler off at night, then it is best to switch it on early in the daytime before the hottest part of the day arrives. This is because of one main reason: swamp coolers can take a while to cool down your home. Instead of being miserable for most of the day, opt to get the swamp cooler going in the morning, so it can begin cooling.

Moreover, is it necessary to turn your swamp cooler off when you leave your home? Generally, this decision depends on how long you are planning to be out. If you are only planning to be gone for an hour or two at most, then you should probably leave the swamp cooler on while you’re gone. 

However, if you are planning to be gone for most of the day, you won’t be able to refill the water and should turn the swamp cooler off. Don’t get discouraged by this, though. If you can find time during your workday, such as lunchtime, to run home and turn on the swamp cooler, you can still go home to cool air after work.

Always Make Sure There is Enough Water

The biggest concern with running a swamp cooler all day is the water level. Without enough water, the swamp cooler will not be able to run. A lack of water can cause the swamp cooler to fail.

Without enough water, your swamp cooler will begin to push out hot air. Releasing hot air is the opposite of the swamp cooler’s goal and something that should be avoided. When a swamp cooler continues to operate without water, the pads will begin to dry out, and you may notice a burning smell coming from the swamp cooler.

Anytime you smell smoke or a burning smell coming from your swamp cooler is cause for concern. You can avoid this by ensuring there is enough water in your swamp cooler at all times. We wrote an article detailing how to diagnose why your swamp cooler smells like smoke for more troubleshooting tips which you can read here.

So, how often should you refill the water in your swamp cooler? The more you run your swamp cooler, the more often you will need to fill up the water. It will also depend on what speed you are running your swamp cooler. 

Someone who is operating their swamp cooler on the highest setting all day and all night will have to worry more about the water levels than someone who only runs it during the daytime on the lowest setting. 

When you first install your swamp cooler, pay attention to how quickly it runs through the water. Every swamp cooler is different and will require different levels of water throughout the day. 

The first time you decide to run your swamp cooler all day, stay home and check on the water levels throughout the day to see how often your swamp cooler needs to be refilled. This information is important in determining whether you can leave your swamp cooler on when you leave your home and how long you can wait before refilling the cooler’s water.


A swamp cooler is an excellent alternative to an air conditioner. They cost less and can produce cool air in your home fairly quickly. They are better for the environment and save on monthly energy costs, as well.
During hot summer months, you have the option of leaving your swamp cooler running all day. The safest way to do so is to ensure there is proper circulation, always start it up in the morning, and always check to make sure there is enough water. Otherwise, you will end up with hot air and burnt-out pads.

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